Georgians Pray for Rain ... Literally

Officials are appealing to a higher power for rain to ease the state's drought.

ByABC News via logo
February 19, 2009, 2:50 AM

Nov. 13, 2007 — -- Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue joined other state leaders and ministers at the state Captiol this afternoon to pray to the heavens for rain and relief from a historic drought that has hit the Southeast.

"We've come together here simply for one reason and one reason only: To very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm," Perdue said to a crowd of about 100 people.

The efforts might pay off. The National Weather Service says there is a 40 to 50 percent chance for rain across much of north Georgia tomorrow.

Perdue has tried several ways to ease the crisis caused by the region's drought, from lawsuits to new laws restricting water use but the water is still running out, and it just won't rain.

Now he is calling on a higher power.

"It's time to appeal to Him who can and will make a difference," Perdue said

But some Georgians, such as atheist Ed Buckner, are not impressed. He and about 20 other members of the Atlanta Freethought Society protested the vigil.

"We've got a real problem. Let's try to do something real about it instead of grandstanding," said Buckner.

"It is also an absurd, foolish thing to do, and it makes the state of Georgia and Georgians like myself look dumb," Buckner added.

This summer Alabama Gov. Bob Riley tried something similar, asking residents to pray for rain for an entire week. It didn't rain then, and it hasn't rained much since.

Since the dawn of time, people have prayed for rain in some form from the tribes of Africa to American Indians. And where prayer fails, science sometimes pulls through.

In China, they're seeding the clouds to force rain a tool the government hopes will be useful leading up to the Beijing Olympics to help cut down on pollution.

To seed the clouds, a flare filled with silver iodide, or dry ice, is shot into the sky, or a plane drops the chemicals into the clouds. At high elevations, the chemicals attract moisture and freeze, and then melt on their way to ground, producing rain. It actually works.

"Cloud seeding is not only done in the U.S., and has been done here since the early 1950s, but there's probably 30 to 40 countries conducting cloud-seeding programs," said weather consultant Don Griffith.

Apparently, none of those counties are in the state of Georgia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.